7 best YA couples of all time (this is completely subjective)

My little brother’s getting married today! Obviously, I’m not writing this on his wedding day, though. Like a good blogger, I have pre-scheduled content for this weekend including yesterday’s review of Bloodwitch. But I’m getting away from myself. In honor of my baby brother’s wedding day, I wanted to post my top 7 (he was born on the 7th) YA couples of all time! (In my opinion). Happy wedding day, B! (He doesn’t read this blog, but whatever).

Best YA Couples

1) Amy and Roger from Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

This is such an ultimate road trip book and I love it! Roger is super respectful of Amy the entire trip and when they finally get together it’s so satisfying. I love all the different playlists throughout and it’s so fun to watch them get to know each other and fall in love.

eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

2) August and Kate from the Monsters of Verity duology by Victoria Schwab

These two never really get together, but I still love them as a couple. I feel like they’re really well-suited for each other–I have a hard time imagining anyone else being able to understand either of them. They just seem really perfect.

eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

3) Blue and Gansey from The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

Blue and Gansey spend so much time in this series not actually together and while it can be frustrating at times, it also makes their inevitable relationship that much more satisfying. We know they’re fated to be with each other right from the beginning and I loved watching their relationship grow over the four books.

eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

4) Dario and Khalila from The Great Library series by Rachel Caine

These two! What a pair! Dario is so ridiculous, but he shows an unexpected tender side whenever Khalila is involved. And Khalila, for her part, doesn’t put up with any of Dario’s crap. She loves him, but she’s not going to let him get away with ANYTHING.

eBook | Paperback

5) Eril-Fane and Azareen from the Strange the Dreamer duology by Laini Taylor

I almost chose Lazlo and Sarai from this book, but then I remembered Eril-Fane and Azareen. While Lazlo and Sarai have a sweet new love, Eril-Fane and Azareen have a deep and tragic love. Reading about their relationship throughout the two books is so heartbreaking. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but I love the way this mature relationship is portrayed in these books.

eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

6) Cress and Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

One of my OTPs. These guys are definitely perfect for each other. They compliment each other so nicely and I love how tender Thorne is with Cress. She needs someone who will be gentle with her, but also acknowledge all the ways in which she is strong–Thorne is able to do that perfectly.

eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

7) Remy and Dexter from This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

You knew there was going to be a Sarah Dessen couple on here, right?!? I wanted to pick Macy and Wes so bad, but in the end I had to go with Remy and Dexter. They are the ultimate example of opposites attracting. I love the way Dexter brings out the less serious side of Remy while Remy does a good job of being an anchor to the relationship.

eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

Any of your guys’ favorite couples make it on my list? Anyone you think I missed?
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MOVIE TRAILER: The Sun is Also a Star

A lot of you may have already seen this, but the trailer for The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon dropped yesterday. You’ll have to tell me what you think since I haven’t actually read the book myself yet…

So….what do you guys think? Does it look like it’s going to be as good as the book (which I’ve only heard good things about)? Do you think they chose the right people to play the main characters? I, personally, love an Asian actor as the romantic male lead–I know that wasn’t really a casting decision since I think the character was written as Asian, but still.

And this is probably your last chance to purchase the book before the movie tie-in version is everywhere.

eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

Let me know what your reaction is in the comments!

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It’s cheesy, but like in a good way | Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Alex, ApproximatelyBailey has just moved across the country to live with her dad. The fact that her online penpal lives in the same city had nothing to do with the decision. Well, almost nothing. She doesn’t even know for sure if Alex likes her and what if he ends up being a total creep anyway? That’s why she’s not telling him that she moved. She’ll scope out the situation, see if she can find him, and then if he’s normal it’ll be a big “surprise!” and they’ll ride off into the sunset. If only this annoying guy from work would leave her alone, she could really concentrate on finding Alex. But Porter seems intent on getting a rise from her every time they’re together and it’s becoming quite distracting.

TL;DR – This is a fun beach romance that has a surprising amount of depth. The predictability of the plot does not make the book any less enjoyable.

First off all, I had my doubts about this book. I mean, I kept hearing everyone else saying that they loved it, etc., but to me it sounded extremely predictable. Now, there’s a time and a place for predictability, especially in romance, but for some reason this just sounded like it might be really boring to me. Well, I was proved wrong. Yes, the book is extremely predictable. We know from the beginning that Porter is actually Alex. While that fact didn’t necessarily create tension within the book, I think it did make it so the reader had this really interesting view and opinion of Porter that Bailey did not initially share.

The plot, again, was super predictable, but I thought the overall tone was nice. It had a really good balance of lighter moments and also really heavy stuff. There were so many parts throughout the books that I just don’t think would have worked or be enjoyable in another story (especially a beachy YA romance), but somehow it all just really works in this book. I did wonder if Bailey was a little too “damaged” as a main character, though. Obviously authors want their characters to be flawed and have baggage, but there are times when I think too much has been added to a character. I feel like Bailey is right there on the edge of being too much.

The romance was nice but I felt that it progressed a little too quickly. I thought there’d be just a little more back and forth before they actually got together. I felt that Porter as a love interest was a little too mature and the overall relationship was a little too serious, but I still cared about both Porter and Bailey and their relationship. One thing I really liked is that after Bailey’s dad and Sergeant Mendoza warn her away from Porter, Bailey actually tells Porter about the conversation instead of just continuing to hurt his feelings. That never happens in YA books! I feel like characters are always keeping things and conversations to themselves when they don’t need to and it creates all of this unnecessary angst. Transparency is key!

Overall, I can’t quite put my finger on why this book was so enjoyable, just that it was. It’s a perfect read for the summer or any time that you wish it were summer, really. It also had a ton of old film references. I don’t have a ton of knowledge in that area myself, so a lot of the references went over my head, but if you are into that I think you’ll enjoy this book.

Overall Rating: 5
Language: Moderate
Violence: Moderate
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate
Sexual Content: Moderate

QUEEN DESSEN DOES IT AGAIN | Once & For All by Sarah Dessen

Once and For AllLouna met Ethan at a wedding. That fact on its own isn’t necessarily notable (her mother IS a wedding planner after all). But then she and Ethan shared the most perfect night together, wandering the streets of Colby. For one night, everything in Louna’s life was perfect. Until it wasn’t. Ethan was her ONE and what is a girl supposed to do when that one is gone? So Louna’s given up on love. She isn’t bitter–just realistic. She already had her chance at true love and what are the odds that she’ll get another one?

My expectations are always so high whenever a new Dessen book is coming out…it’s honestly not very fair to her. Except, she always delivers! Louna is such a great main character and gives off so many Remy vibes (which I LOVE). Honestly, they almost could have been the same character except I think Remy comes off as slightly more cynical. This only means that Louna is a fun combination of mild cynicism and general impatience. The secondary characters were awesome as well. I loved Louna’s mom and William–they had such a fun dynamic and often served as comic relief. Also serving as comic relief (in my opinion) is coffee shop guy, so quick shout out to him. I liked Jilly quite a bit as well, though I felt like I was missing that super strong female friendship that is often in Dessen’s books. Jilly and Louna were definitely great friends, but Jilly just wasn’t as present as other best friends have been. That being said, Jilly’s siblings were hilarious and I hope we see more of her little brother in another book.

Ambrose and Ethan…I thought they were great characters in different ways. I liked how we got to meet Ethan piece by piece in flashbacks and that his relationship with Louna didn’t feel forced or fake. I think that’s hard to do since they spent such a short amount of time together, but I was buying the whole thing. Also, thank Dessen for featuring my favorite location that she has ever created–the Pie Laundromat. So happy to see that place again. Ambrose was a completely different character from Ethan for sure and it was interesting to see Louna falling for both guys. I’ve seen some reviewers say they really didn’t care for Ambrose’s personality. I can honestly see why some readers may dislike him, but he’s so different from all of Dessen’s other romantic leads that I found him really interesting. And also the fact that he was so different from Ethan gave Louna more depth as a character, in my opinion.

As is common in Dessen’s books, there wasn’t really a plot since the book is more focused on the characters. That being said, I loved all of the different weddings that we got to see. I live just a couple of blocks from a really popular, local wedding spot and seeing so many brides and weddings day after day really just made me start to think how un-special weddings are. Like, they literally happen every day in the summer! I just found myself pondering the interesting paradox of this being one of the most important days of the bride’s life while for me it’s “just another wedding by my house”. Anyway, that’s a long explanation to say that I’m sure Natalie and William feel the same way to some extent and it’s interesting to view weddings from that perspective.

Overall, I loved this book just as much as all the others. As long as Sarah Dessen writes, I will continue to read and purchase her books. Honestly, she’s the only author I’ll pre-order for. The ONLY issue I have is that there’s a bonus chapter that exists, but it’s only available in the special B&N edition. For an Amazon addict like me, that’s no good. I’d already pre-ordered the book on Amazon when I found out bonus material even existed! Whatever. I confess to going to B&N just to sit on their floor and read the bonus chapter. I don’t even feel bad about it. But anyway, if you like Dessen, READ THIS BOOK. And if you don’t like Dessen or have never read anything she’s written, READ THIS BOOK.

Overall Rating: 5
Language: Moderate
Violence: Moderate
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate
Sexual Content: Moderate

Top Ten Tuesday: Romance is in the air

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there is a new topic and this week’s topic is: All About Romance Tropes/Types

So here’s one of my favorite YA romance tropes.

Girl meets famous boy = love

I actually just found out that there’s a legit name for these books: YA Celebrity Romances.

Musicians
Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally
Date with a Rockstar by Sarah Gagnon
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak

Actors
This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E Smith
Catch a Falling Star by Kim Culbertson

Other
The Heir and the Spare by Emily Albright
Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik

I know there are more than just this list, but these are ones that I gave at least three stars to.

BONUS: Bromances

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord – Ryan and Max
Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson – Frank Porter and Collins

Top Ten Tuesday: The Transformative Power of Summer

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there is a new topic and this week’s topic is: Top Ten Books With X Setting (top ten books set near the beach, top ten book set in boarding school, top ten books set in England, etc)

In YA books, Summer is filled with endless possibilities. There will certainly be a romance and lots of days on the beach/at the pier/in the ice cream shop hanging out with old (or new) friends. Summer is a time when you can transform into something or somebody new. You might be getting ready for that last year of high school, or maybe even on your way to college. There’s one thing for certain though–anything can happen over the Summer.

Still in High School

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald
The Last Forever by Deb Caletti
Kissing in America by Margo Rabb

Leaving for College

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
Panic by Lauren Oliver
Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally
You Were Here by Cori McCarthy

P.S. Really several Sarah Dessen and Morgan Matson books could have made the list, but I decided to stick with on per author.

P.P.S. Sorry if I miscategorized a book, I don’t quite remember where all of our MCs were heading.

 

What You Always Wanted by Kristin Rae [ARC]

Maddie has been in love with Gene Kelly from the moment she saw him dance. Too bad he’s long gone and none of the high school boys she knows can even compare. That is until she realizes that baseball star Jesse Morales grew up dancing. He may have traded in his dance lessons for baseball practices, but Maddie knows that Jesse’s love for dancing is still in there somewhere…she just has to bring it out.

25663575I’ve really been a fan of this “If Only” series. I’ve read a few now and liked at least two of them. I just like that they’re fun, clean YA Contemporary Romances. They’re easy reads with (usually) pretty likable characters and just enough drama and angst. Each book is written by a different author and has a different setting and very individual characters, but they still come together in a nice series of stand-alones.

I like in books when the main character has a unique hobby or interest. In this case, our main character is OBSESSED with classic movies and musicals (especially the ones that feature Gene Kelly). This book really put me in the mood to watch “Singin’ in the Rain”, I’ll tell you that. I didn’t always like the things she did as a character, but overall I feel that she was realistic and not too annoying. From very early on, I could felt that she had a lot of potential for growth and development. While she did grow some, I think the growth and character development overall in the book fell short–it was just a little too shallow for me.

Jesse was an okay love interest for me. He wasn’t as swoon-worthy as some of the YA Contemporary Romance male leads are (regardless of how unrealistic it is that a normal teenage boy would every actually act like that/say those things). The fact that he wasn’t as swoon-worthy made him a more realistic character in my opinion, but sometimes he’d say something that would really break the mood of the scene. I could see that being the point though. This whole time Maddie’s been drooling over Gene Kelly and the characters he’s been playing and Jesse makes a good contrast to that type of character.

Some of the secondary characters were pretty good and some were just okay, but I didn’t understand Rica AT ALL. She seemed pointlessly evil. Almost like she was there just to provide a sort of foil for Maddie. She says some really mean things, but then the reader is never shown why Rica is the way she is. Maybe we’ll get a book about her sometime later? I’m not really sure. But yeah, she was such a flat character.

Overall, I thought this book was pretty good, but I wouldn’t buy it–probably just check it out from the library. The dynamic of Maddie’s family was interesting and I’m not sure how necessary that subplot was to the rest of the story, but it didn’t distract too much.

Overall Rating: 3
Language: None
Violence: None
Smoking/Drinking: None
Sexual Content: Mild

Note: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.